Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in Chicago White Sox Category

Hawk & Buehrle Screen Grab.jpgHumor is back in the new ad campaign from Energy BBDO/Chicago for the 2011 Chicago White Sox season that is about to break. The campaign tagline is "All In," a reference, we're told, to the belief that the White Sox now have on board a roster of players that are fully capable of taking the team to the World Series this year. We can only hope, right?

One of the first TV spots that will break in the new campaign is set in a grocery store, where we are witness to an unusual recreation of a spectacular and intricate play that occurred on opening day of the 2010 baseball season. That play involved pitcher Mark Buehrle and first baseman Paul Konerko.

In the supermarket recreation, a husband and wife use a grapefruit in lieu of a baseball, as the always colorful White Sox TV game announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Buehrle himself look on in awe.

CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) made it official Wednesday. The station said it has inked a new five-year deal with the Chicago White Sox to broadcast all regular and post-season White Sox games, along with a number of spring training games. WSCR has been the home for radio broadcast of White Sox games since the 2006 season. "We looking forward to continuing this great partnership and growing our brands together," said Rod Zimmerman, senior vice-president and market manager for CBS Radio Chicago.

As part of the new deal, the White Sox said they would also launch a dedicated White Sox HD radio channel on 104.3-3 that will feature programming created exclusively by the club. "The potential growth in the HD radio industry presents a strong business opportunity for the White Sox," said Brooks Boyer, the team's marketing honcho, who also indicated the new channel would provide an additional opportunity to communicate with both White Sox and casual baseball fans. The launch date of the HD Channel will be announced at a later date.

The Chicago White Sox and CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) will announce as early as Wednesday that they have inked a new broadcast deal that gives WSCR exclusive radio rights to air all White Sox games -- more than 160 a season -- for each of the next five years.

The new contract extends by another five years the first five-year deal between WSCR and the White Sox. Prior to moving to WSCR, the White Sox were heard on ESPN Radio's sports talk WMVP-AM (1000).

Sources say WSCR is expected to stick with its current team of on-air talent for White Sox games, including pre- and post-show host Chris Rongey and the game play-by-play announcer team of Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson.

The White Sox have not performed up to their World Champion standard the past several seasons. But the baseball team remain an important sports franchise in the city, and WSCR negotiated long and hard to ensure the White Sox remained on board at the station.

There have been twists and turns along the way, but broadcast sources say CBS Radio Chicago's sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) is close to signing a new five-year contract to remain the exclusive radio home of the Chicago White Sox. A deal could be announced within a week.

Negotiations were protracted, in part because of rumored discussions among the White Sox and the team's owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Emmis Communications about the possibility of converting an Emmis radio property in Chicago to an FM sports outlet and putting the White Sox on that. But those talks, sources say, have collapsed, and the White Sox are now focused on getting a deal done with WSCR.

Meanwhile, it can't be ruled out that CBS Radio Chicago still could opt to simulcast WSCR on adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) if efforts to boost ratings at WCFS are unsuccessful.

The 2010 Chicago White Sox season on Comcast SportsNet Chicago will include 101 live regular season games, including the season and home opener against the Cleveland Indians on April 5. CSNC also will air the season road opener on April 12, against the Toronto Blue Jays. For the second season, Steve Stone will provide television color commentary alongside play-by-play announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. For the third straight season, CSNC will produce every White Sox regular home and road game in high definition.

statue_face.0001.jpgThings will be very black and white in the new Chicago White Sox advertising campaign for the 2010 season from Energy BBDO. The campaign theme line is "White Sox Baseball. It's Black and White." The first TV spot of the year, "Prepare," debuts Friday. It features some stark black and white imagery of U.S. Cellular Field well photographed by Russell Harper of Dictionary Films. The voiceover announcer in the spot talks about what various members of the White Sox organization are doing as they await the start of spring training and the season itself. A. J. Pierzynski is doing squats in Florida, while Mark Buehrle is studying tape in Missouri and Ozzie Guillen is in Venezuela on a conference call with Kenny Williams. The spot ends with an image of the 2005 World Championship flag flapping in the wind -- a reminder of the White Sox remarkable accomplishments that year. "In part, we wanted this spot to remind viewers that hope springs eternal," said Energy BBDO Chief Creative Officer Dan Fietsam. Especially in the spring for baseball fans.

The Chicago White Sox have selected the San Jose Group/Chicago as its first Hispanic ad agency of record. The move is part of an effort by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the team's top management to grow a significant, loyal segment of the White Sox audience at U.S. Cellular Field, where on average about 14 percent of the crowd for a typical game is Hispanic. Energy BBDO/Chicago will continue to handle White Sox general market advertising.

The San Jose Group will work on an Hispanic-focused ad campaign that is expected to break in about four weeks. The finished campaign will include Spanish-language online work, as well as print, radio and television executions. "Baseball is a powerful passion point for Latinos, and we are going to tap into that excitement for the game and continue building affinity for the White Sox among Latinos," said George L. San Jose, president and chief operating officer of the San Jose Group, which was founded in 1981. The agency also will assist with public relations outreach to the metro Chicago Hispanic community that numbers nearly 2 million.

Meanwhile, the White Sox are expected to unveil the first print executions for their 2010 general market ad campaign next week to coincide with the start of individual ticket sales. The new campaign will carry the tag line "White Sox baseball: It's black and white." The theme is intended to suggest that there are no gray areas at the White Sox, especially when it comes to winning and losing. TV commercials may break as early as March, and some of the ads are expected to feature White Sox team members.

In addition to tonight's 7 p.m. re-broadcast of this afternoon's historic perfect game by Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, Comcast SportsNet Chicago will provide viewers with video-on-demand (VOD) coverage of a momentous day in White Sox history.

The entire game, pre-game and extended post-game coverage, including the press conferences and player interviews, will be available later today on Comcast Digital Cable. CSNC intends to devote the entirety of tonight's 10:30 pm edition of its "SportsNite" program to Buehrle's perfect game.

The Chicago White Sox will broadcast the first episode of "Orgullo Sox" (translation: "Sox Pride"), the team's signature Spanish-language television show, on Sunday, Apr. 19, on Telemundo Chicago. "Orgullo Sox" enters its third season on the air and will broadcast 12 times this year on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. The 30-minute show is presented by Miller Lite and hosted by local television personality Johana Londono and White Sox Spanish radio play-by-play announcer Omar Ramos. The show features one-on-one player interviews, community and fan profiles and segments on social life in Chicago, along with game highlights.

PX212_3FF2_7.JPGComcast SportsNet would have us believe the Chicago White Sox season opener Tuesday on the sports cable channel drew huge television ratings. But that wasn't really the case. At least not in comparison to the Chicago Cubs season opener that aired Monday on CSN. The early afternoon game time may have been a factor in the lower White Sox ratings.

The White Sox opener against the Kansas City Royals pulled a 3.23 rating for the live afternoon telecast, and scored a 4.24 peak rating during the 3:15 p.m. quarter hour. The previous high rating for a White Sox season opening game came on Apr. 4, 2005 game against the Cleveland Indians, which had a 2.38 rating on CSN.



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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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